Wills and Probate: FAQ

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At Ronald Fletcher & Co., we have solicitors who can help you to handle various challenges and responsibilities relating to wills and probate. However, as there can be a lot of jargon involved in discussion of these areas of the law, we know that you might be able to benefit from a quick FAQ that could clear confusion regarding various aspects relating to wills and probate.

What is probate?

A detailed description of probate has been posted on the legal advice website Law Donut. As that website explains, probate is a process where a court grants someone permission to handle a deceased individual's estate. That person given permission would then be able to gather all of the deceased person's assets, pay off remaining debts and hand out the assets to those entitled to them.

The people with the responsibility of handling that estate are called executors. Should there be a will that names executors, they can apply for a "grant of probate" from the probate registry. Should the will not name any executors, or none of the named executors be willing to act, a "grant of letters of administration (with will)" can be requested from the probate registry by a beneficiary of the will. A relative of the deceased person can request a "grant of letters of administration" should there be no will.

Should the probate registry be happy with an application, the administrators or executors will be asked to, under oath, confirm the details they have given and their commitment to rightly and properly handling the estate.

Should I ask a solicitor to help me with probate and estate administration?

Taking on an executor's responsibilities can be stressful; it can be complicated and time-consuming, and that's before you consider the added strain should the deceased person have been particularly close to you or you have become embroiled in family disputes.

There are various specific situations in which turning to a solicitor can be especially helpful; these include if the estate is complex, underage children are involved, the will's validity is under question, you think that the will may be contested, or practical issues, like your other responsibilities, would hinder your efforts to be hands-on as an executor.

Thankfully, seek the assistance of our team here at Ronald Fletcher & Co., and you can expect us to help you to meet your responsibilities and resolve probate and administration issues. You can click here to read even more reasons to seek our help.

How might a will be contested?

You could find that a will is contested by either someone who had financially relied on the deceased person and does not believe that the will adequately provides for them, or a beneficiary who believes that the estate is being improperly administrated. Should a will be contested, you should endeavour to reach an agreement with the other party before the case goes to court; a court case can be expensive and time-draining. Always immediately take professional advice, such as from our own solicitors.